Saturday, April 15, 2006

'This is the best time to be a Filipino'


April 16, 2006
Updated 01:32am (Mla time)
Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Inquirer

WHERE is this coming from? What deep source brought forth this amazing phenomenon that shows in concrete what love and caring for one another truly means?

They call it GK (for Gawad Kalinga) 777. Their target: 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in seven years-and they're getting there fast.

The Couples for Christ's GK community housing program for the very poor in this country and abroad has amazed and baffled even the most skeptical and cynical.

Antonio "Tony" Meloto, the name, face and voice behind the GK phenomenon, is himself surprised at what love has wrought.

Much has been written about the GK phenomenon, in which so many Filipinos here and abroad are now personally involved. Even foreigners leave their homelands to come and contribute their time and talent.

Both individuals and institutions have pledged their faith as well as their money in the revolutionary enterprise. And why not? They have seen its fruits.

At last, thousands of poor families are experiencing what it feels to live in dignity, what love of neighbor truly demands, what it means to receive and also to give-of themselves-in return.

Sweat equity, among them, but most of all, kalinga (care). Indeed, Gawad Kalinga means to give care.

Meloto tries his best to spread the credit, but there is no denying that he is a major driving spirit in all this.

The Inquirer visited Meloto in his family's Quezon City home and, with him, met with residents of GK Payatas, once a ghetto inhabited by garbage scavengers and lawless elements and now a clean, colorful community that thrives on hope.

The altered landscape is a jaw-dropping sight, yes, but physical structures are not all there is to the change.

Something greater has happened-and continues to happen-in GK communities such as this. For one thing, GK does not just build and leave.

A shanty at the end of the road is in the process of demolition, but its occupants are all smiles because on the same spot will rise a new structure 77 times better than the old.

Soon, the dwelling will be part of the hundreds of brightly painted homes. But more importantly, the occupants will feel that they indeed belong to a special community.

The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary continue to work there. The Mormons have donated a library.

"This is the best time to be a Filipino," Meloto says. There is no rhetoric there, only the solemnity and humility of one faced with a wondrous moment that he cannot allow to slip by.

Call it a moment of becoming.

One for the books

Meloto is no stranger to penury or plenty. He has experienced both sides of the tracks, so to speak.

His journey from here to there and back to where he began via a long and winding road that offered him a U-turn is one for the books, or even the movies.

Although GK projects are never tied up with religion (or politics) as far as the choice of beneficiaries, benefactors and volunteers is concerned, there is a spirituality that pervades GK undertakings.

Meloto turns to Acts 4:32-35 of the Bible to explain the GK spirit: "The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own ... There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need."

One has to think in terms of the collective, explains Meloto.

This is also what being a person for others means, says the economics graduate of the Ateneo de Manila, where to be "a man for others" is the dictum.

'I forgot the poor'

Ateneo students and graduates were among those who helped restore Payatas by transforming 200 shanties into homes.

Its graduating class of 2006 invited Meloto to be its commencement speaker.

But as Meloto confessed to the graduates, it was not easy for him to return to the Jesuit-run institution in the past 32 years:

"I didn't come to reunions and homecomings, simply because of a sense of guilt of a person who grew up with the suffering poor but later forgot them after I got an Ateneo education.

"I was so focused on repackaging and building up myself that I forgot the accompanying responsibility that came with the privilege of an Ateneo scholarship.

"I forgot the poor. I left them behind."

Thus, Meloto has no reason to blame the rich entirely for the plight of the poor:

"How could I expect them to love the poor whom they do not know when I, who grew up poor, forgot to help them?"

Turning point

The turning point for Meloto came in 1985 when he and his wife Lyn joined Couples for Christ and met Frank Padilla, who was among those who founded the predominantly Catholic family movement in 1981.

The CFC is now present in 140 countries and works "to strengthen the church of the home, build the church of the poor, and help build the nation."

Lyn, Meloto wants to stress, brought him, a lapsed Catholic, back to the fold. Padilla helped him turn his life around and surrender his life to God.

"In CFC, it was a journey of the self," Meloto says. "I embraced the most amazing human reality that I am a son of God. I learned to live a life of celebration in solidarity with other Filipinos. It was a most exciting adventure."

The adventure included "restoring the Promised Land that is our country." And GK became the vehicle for this restoration.

"I knew in my heart that God was preparing me," Meloto reflects. "God had put my family aright. My wife and I were sent to Australia as country coordinators, and there we learned to live simply."

Middle-class dreams

The GK started to take shape after that foreign stint. It was not all about building structures; it was also about building dreams.

Says Meloto: "Real poverty is not a lack of jobs but losing the capacity to dream. We would like to enable the poor to have middle-class dreams and help them work for them."

And how does one do that if not by going into a community? Meloto reminds all that Jesus went to a community of the poor and showed what servant leadership was about.

"Foot washing is at the heart of leadership," Meloto says, recalling that Jesus washed the feet of His apostles shortly before He was crucified.

It symbolizes equal worth and dignity, especially of the men, he points out.

In extreme poverty situations, according to Meloto, women rise to save the family but the men fall away because of despair. And then the men become predatory, he says. (It is a strange behavioral collapse despite the fact that the societal setup is still biased in men's favor.)

Humble beginnings

Meloto's own life journey as a man did not head in that direction. He rose to earn power and wealth in the corporate milieu.

He grew up in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, where the yawning divide between the haves and the have-nots was a given.

In that context of a social volcano, one could say Meloto was a child of humble beginnings.

His mother was a public school teacher for more than 40 years. His father was a teacher too, and later, a clerk.

But raising a brood of six, two of whom were mentally disabled, was not easy for the couple.

When Meloto was a child, the family lived in a place close to a slum area. He knew the poor children by name and played with them.

He also knew he had relatives who were wealthy, but he realized early on that he belonged to the other side of the tracks. He felt insecure, particularly after an injury affected his left eye and left him cross-eyed for some time.

"No rich person was ever unkind to me," Meloto recalls.

He nurtured no wild rage, but he felt a lingering pain: "Mine was a societal wound."

Back where he came from

Pluck, luck and a good intelligence changed the course of his life.

The public school kid went to the United States via a student exchange program. Upon his return, he got a college scholarship at the Ateneo.

It was there, in the school of the mostly affluent, that it started-a denial of his roots and of who he was.

It was go, go, go for the gold and the good life after that. Until ...

Now back where he came from, in the bosom of the country's poor, Meloto offers his own experience of recrossing the divide.

In order to change, he says, one needs to focus on three things:

"One, I have to focus on the self and undergo personal renewal. I must detach myself from power and money. For example, I have given up my checking account and credit cards.

"Two, I must surrender myself to the bigger plan of God, and that includes surrendering my family.

"Three, I have to die to self. For example, since I am also working with Muslims, I had to give up eating pork."

The GK is building in Camp Abubakar, a Moro enclave.

Simple path

Quite a number have followed the simple path in order to serve the poor via GK.

There is Elena Kanapi, who left her job as strategic planning director in an international ad agency in order to do full-time volunteer work.

Melo Villaroman, former director of business development for Asia of Procter and Gamble, came home from Singapore with his family and retired at 42 to work with the GK.

Mike Goco, former president of PDCP, is now a full-time volunteer handling the GK's administration and resource management.

Lawyer Patrick Durana and his wife Divine provide legal and corporate know-how in helping find land for the landless.

Much has been written about Dylan Wilk of the United Kingdom, who gave up his extravagant lifestyle to devote his time helping the Philippines through the GK. (He is now Meloto's son-in-law.)

And there are teacher Abigail Villamin of Canada, Jay Capati of Illiois, Eleanor Chichioco of New Jersey, and Erwin Fausto and TJ David, who gave up two years of the good life in their home countries to give of themselves to the Philippines.

The Melotos' four grown children-Anna, Wowee, Jay and Camille-are themselves involved one way or another with GK.

The youngest, 2-year-old Celine, who was adopted moments after her birth, does her share by lighting up any room.

Revolution of hope

And does he have any fears?

Says Meloto: "No major fears. I know we have placed a formidable challenge to ourselves in promoting the GK vision of building a squatter-free, slum-free, crime-free Philippines, where there is dignity for all.

"The reason I don't consider this a fear is that I believe this is what the majority of our people desire and are willing to work for if given the opportunity.

"I believe in the immense potential of the Filipino, including the poorest among them, who have shown greatness and excellence. I have seen this in more than 700 GK communities across the country, in empowering 70,000 to help themselves and one another.

"The GK has struck a gold mine, the Filipinos' immense capacity to love, hope, dream and work together. The GK is a revolution of hope. People are sharing the best of themselves for the least of our countrymen."

Meloto captures the GK phenomenon by quoting the prophet Isaiah: "Once you were forsaken, hated and unvisited, now I will make you the pride of the ages, a joy to generation after generation ... No longer shall violence be heard of in your land, or plunder and ruin within your boundaries. You shall call your walls 'Salvation' and your gates 'Praise.'"

For more on the GK, visit www.gawadkalinga.org.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Filipino singer wins world jazz competition in London

Mar 24, 2006

Updated 02:40am (Mla time)
Tonette Orejas
Inquirer

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Once again, a Filipino is the best of 'em.

Jazz singer Mon David won the grand prize in the prestigious London International Jazz Competition (LIJC) last Wednesday, besting 106 vocalists from 27 countries.

The 52-year-old native of Pampanga province began his performance at the finals-held at the Cadogan Hall in London's Sloane Square-with a few bars of an ethnic chant, singing a cappella the first lines of "Nature Boy," and then crooning "My One and Only Love" and "Lullaby of Birdland."

As LIJC Jazz Vocalist 2006, David will receive 1,000 euros (nearly P90,000) and take on engagements at the Jagz in Ascot and the 606 Club in Chelsea.

Confirming on Thursday news of his winning, David told his friends in Pampanga that in his spiel, he shared his "amazement at how music can transcend borders and cultural differences, how it can bring people together, how it can truly set us free."

Said David's 19-year-old daughter Nikki: "We were asking him if he had felt like he won it after he performed. He said he knew he had connected with the audience and with his band. He was able to get them hooked from the beginning. He wasn't consumed by nervousness and anxiety because he really enjoyed performing. At a certain point, he said he was in a trance."

Only Asian

David was the only Asian among the 12 who made it to the finals. (At the March 18 semifinals, he sang "Waltz for Debby," "No More Blues" and "Skylark.")

He outdid Dan Barnett and Karlie Bruce of Australia, Torsten Goods of Germany, and Heidi Martin and Alison Wedding of the United States.

The finalists were scored on intonation, jazz vocal sound, time feel, interpretation and phrasing, innovation concept, improvisation and convincing stage presence.

The judges included Lee Gibson and Tina May, described as "two of Britain's finest jazz vocalists and educators," LIJC executive director Ursula Malewski, jazz vocalist Ian Shaw, and Pete Churchill and Adam Sieff, jazz consultants with Sony BMG Music International, Dune Records and DDE Records.

The LIJC said the contenders from Britain, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States were of "an exceptionally high and professional standard."

Revival advocate

David, who is due to return to the Philippines on April 5, is expected to get a grand welcome in Pampanga where he is an advocate of Kapampangan culture revival, said Robby Tantingco, director of the Center for Kapampangan Studies of the Holy Angel University.

A recipient of the 2004 Most Outstanding Kapampangan Award (in the arts, culture and music), David supported the revival of folk songs recorded in musical compact discs by the Crissot Foundation, ArtiSta Rita Foundation and the center, and their inclusion in his recordings and concerts.

Smart Communications Corp. chairman Manuel Pangilinan helped fund David's trip to London.


©2006 www.inq7.net all rights reserved

Thursday, December 29, 2005

RP high-yield rice included in list of top 50 inventions

Dec 29, 2005 Updated 06:11pm (Mla time) Erwin Lemuel Oliva eoliva@inq7.net INQ7.net
United States-based magazine Popular Mechanics has cited a 1966 invention by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines as among the top 50 inventions of the past half-century.
Published in its December 2005 issue, (http://www.popularmechanics.com/specials/features/2078467 .html?page=3&c=y), Popular Mechanics top 50 inventions include scientific and technological advances that have transformed our world in the past five decades.
The selection of the top 50 inventions was made by a panel of 25 experts who identified the innovations that have made the biggest impact on humanity and the earth, from the hospital to outer space to the kitchen.
The IRRI high-yield rice is a semi-dwarf, high-yield Indica variety that, in conjunction with high-yield wheat, ushered in the so-called "Green Revolution." Indica rice now thrives in tropical regions of Asia and South America, raising worldwide production more than 20 percent by 1970.
Other inventions cited in the article include digital music, the computer mouse, cell phone, automated teller machine, Sony walkman, and in-vitro fertilization.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Our Doctors, Our Heroes

Why the doctor is in, and working in barrios

Dec 29, 2005
Updated 04:54am (Mla time)
Gerry Lirio glirio@inquirer.com.ph
Inquirer

NOT ALL doctors are leaving the homeland for greener pastures.

Forty-two doctors have come forward to debunk the growing notion that most Filipino doctors want out of here.

They are here, and they are everywhere.

From Batanes to Marikina City, from Legaspi City to Zamboanga del Sur, the 42 doctors gave one reason for staying put: They are badly needed here. No ifs, no buts. They are staying, they said, simply because it is their calling. All of them are practicing outside Metro Manila, including in never-heard-of towns.

They come from different family and cultural backgrounds. Some are single; most are married. Their ages range between 25 and 50.

Four are Muslims, namely, Jovette S. Guinal of Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur; Dyan Sangcopan-Decampong of Bayang, Lanao del Sur; Saidailah "Cindy" Raki-in of Bacolod Kalawi, Lanao del Sur, and Ibrahim Macapodi of Amaipacpac, also in Lanao del Sur.

Their decision did not come without temptations.

Macapodi, 38, had to go through deep reflection when an opportunity came his way to work as a doctor in a Saudi Arabia hospital that paid at least P100,000 a month.

After a few days, he made up his mind: He said no to the many things that the P100,000 could buy. There was a bigger sacrifice: He was supposed to leave in September 2004 along with his wife, a nurse who had been recruited by another Saudi hospital. He let her go alone. He stayed behind.

From his Amaipacpac hometown, Macapodi moved to another small health center, this time in Tabina, Zamboanga del Sur.


Welcomed like Pacquiao

On the morning of his first day at work, this graduate of the Mindanao State University was greeted with a warm welcome as if he were boxing icon Manny Pacquiao returning from a title bout. By nighttime, he had run out of medicines.

It was too bad, he said, that some diseases were preventable but there were no drugs. It was worse, he added, that there were more patients than he could handle. But there was no other doctor. In fact, a few older residents had never seen a doctor all their lives.

"I just want to help," he told the Inquirer in a phone interview, 25 minutes after he supervised an operation in the Tabina health center.

Fulfilling

"The job is fulfilling," he added, recalling how he had reduced the number of patients at the health center.

Macapodi said he had heard of another Muslim doctor, 28-year-old Elmer Jacinto of Basilan, who topped the board examination for doctors in 2004, but who decided to work as a nurse in the United States. [The Inquirer first broke the story of Elmer.]

Aside from being a doctor, Macapodi also teaches health care to Christians, Muslims, tribesmen and suspected rebels. He's both a doctor and a nurse to the victims of natural and man-made calamities like shootings and bombings.

He refused to talk about his take-home pay. But a new municipal doctor, he said, starts with P15,000 a month. He had no regrets, he said.

When at home, he is both father and mother to his four kids.

Healing communities

Like Macapodi, 32-year-old Guinal graduated from Mindanao State University. A participant in the Doctors for the Barrios of former health secretary now Senator Juan Flavier, she had also applied for work in Saudi Arabia yet didn't pursue it.

She said she would enjoy working in the community than in a hospital since it was her desire to heal a community rather than individual patients.

No to Singapore

Another doctor refused an offer to work in Singapore. Maria Eloisa C. Vidar, 33, a graduate of Pamantasan ng Maynila, said that she did not need that many material things. Away from her home in Canlubang, Laguna, she is now assigned to Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte.

Another Muslim, 32-year-old Decampong said she didn't have to go abroad since as a Muslim woman, she was expected to be of service to her family. A resident of Iligan, she is now assigned in Bayang, Lanao del Sur.

Leaders for health project

Macapodi, Vidar, Decampong and Guinal are among the 40 doctors undergoing training at the Ateneo de Manila's Leaders for Health Project, a program conceived by former Health Secretary Alfredo R. A. Bengzon, now president and chief executive officer of The Medical City on Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City.

Bengzon put up the LHP program three years ago to help avert the exodus of doctors from the country.

Masteral degree

Bengzon's program was a carryover of Flavier's Doctors for the Barrios, with a twist. It encourages the doctors to do community service and rewards them with a masteral degree on public health with their own barrio practice as its core.

So far, it has graduated 22 masters in community health management from the first batch of doctor-volunteer participants with funds donated by Pfizer Philippines. The program is in need of new sponsors for the next batch.

Bengzon said the program seeks to "reorient and retrain" doctors about the medical profession and make them reshape the way Filipinos think, feel and behave about public health.

Partners for health

For instance, the program aims for doctors and the community to be jointly responsible for the health of the residents. So it brings together the mayor, municipal health officer and the community leaders in an "enlightened understanding" of health and the health systems.

"Our people can't just cry and die because we are running out of doctors; public health need not be left only in the hands of doctors," Bengzon told the Inquirer.

Vidar said she still had her idealism with her. So she took the challenge of joining LHP.

Passion for helping

Guinal said the program gives her more opportunities for personal and professional growth and development. LHP offered her a master's degree and a salary, she said.

Most of all, she said she was given a venue to express her passion for helping and serving others. With all that she had gone through, she said that nothing compared to her LHP experience.

Honor roll

Some of the other doctors in the Ateneo leadership program are Joseph B. Ague, 47, now assigned in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur; Cynthia S. Algery, 42, now in Libmanan, Camarines Sur; Rebecca R. Aquino, 44, now in Agusan del Sur; Mary Faith Baban-Briones, 30, now in San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur; Ma. Cecilia V. Camangon, 31, in San Benito, Surigao del Norte; Felma M. Caybot, 45, in Prosperidad, Agusan del Norte; Tomas B. Cruiz, 35, in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur; Alethea de Guzman, 25, in Ivana, Batanes; Jesse Diamante, 47, now in Itbayat, Batanes; Roderick R. Embuido, 31, now in Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur; Hairam R. Encendencia, 36, now in La Paz, Agusan del Sur; Allan A. Evangelista, 34, now in Catigbian, Bohol;

Ma. Theresa R. Kho, 45, now in Magallanes, Agusan del Norte; Francis L. Langi Jr., 30, now in Zumaraga, Western Samar; Rey Millena, now in Calabanga, Camarines Sur; Zenaida G. Patalcorin, 50, now in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur; Pretchell G. Patrocinio, 28, now in Dinagat, Surigao del Norte; Rosa Maria Rempillo, 37, now in Sto. Domingo, Albay; Randy C. Saavedra, 28, now in San Jorge, Western Samar; Lea P. Brun-Salvatierra, 33, now in Bindoy, Negros Occidental; Pamela C. Talento, 33, now in Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur; Johny T. Tan, 41, now in Jovellar, Albay; Juan A. Tolentino, 35, now in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; Eloisa C. Vidar, 33, now in Dimataling, Zamboanga, del Sur; January V. Yabut, 28, now in Burgos, Surigao del Norte; Marie Joy C. Advincula, 30, now in San Sebastian, Western Samar; Aida Zerlinne J. Alcid, 35, now in General Luna, Surigao del Norte; Christine S. Balasbas, 32, now in Kawayan, Biliran;

Tricia B. Balilo, 32, now in DoH CHD Bicol, Legaspi City; Robert Philip V. Briones, 36, now in Loreto, Surigao del Norte; Russel A. Camua, 31, now in San Jose, Surigao del Norte; Pauline F. Convocar, 30, now in Socorro, Surigao del Norte; Richard R. Lariosa, 31, now in Uyugan, Batanes; Vivian L. Makabali, 48, now in Dapa, Surigao del Norte; Joselito M. Montalban, 35, now in Malimono, Surigao del Norte; Joselito M. Montalban, 46, now in Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte;

Prosperidad Silveron, 51, now in Pilar, Surigao del Norte; Cornelio A. Solis, 34, now in Jiabong, Western Samar; Jeryl R. Torayno, 35, now in Marabut, Western Samar, and Romulo P. Ybiernas, 35, now in Tubajon, Surigao del Norte.



Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Filipinos bag amateur mobile filmmaker awards

Dec 19, 2005
Updated 04:14pm (Mla time)
Erwin Lemuel Oliva eoliva@inq7.net
INQ7.net

TAKING the Nokia N90 mobile phone underwater in Anilao, Batangas was enough to convince the judges to award Filipino Janice Yu the grand prize in a recent competition for Asian amateur mobile filmmakers.

Another Filipino contestant, Pangasinan resident Noel Osting, won the "Best Editing" award for a short documentary on Filipino farm life.

Yu, who takes home a 10,000-dollar cash prize, was among the six finalists in this year's "First Time Mobile Filmmakers Award" organized by Discovery Networks Asia, a division of entertainment company Discovery Communications, and mobile phone manufacturer Nokia.

The contest requires contestants to use Nokia's N90 phone to shoot short films.

Yu's winning short film experiments with using the phone's video features to make a personal travelogue of one of the country's top dive sites.

"With the advancement of technology we have now, it is a godsend for videographers like me who can have immediate access to equipment that despite their small size, are packed with walloping features and quality," Yu says in her profile at the contest's website.

In her blog written for the contest, Yu said she was quite nervous about shooting underwater using the N90. It was a "make or break" moment for her, she said.

"I felt I've taken a gamble with the concept I chose," she wrote in her blog, as she looked back at the process of creating her short film.

Thai Ndol Lerkwsirisuk won the Best Visualization award.

Friday, December 16, 2005

US honors Filipino savior of American colonel By Nikko Dizon(Inquirer )

IN AN APRIL afternoon in a Haiti slum, a Filipino soldier gave up his life to save an American colonel who was a fellow member of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
On Thursday, the US government formally recognized the heroism of Staff Sergeant Antonio Batomalaque of the Philippine Army with a posthumous Soldier's Medal Award for making the "ultimate sacrifice" to save another's life.Batomalaque, a 39-year-old father of three boys, "distinguished himself by making the ultimate sacrifice while protecting an American officer and fellow soldiers during actions in Port-au-Prince, Haiti," the citation read.
Batomalaque's sons, Steven, Jerome and Mark, were with their mother at the simple and brief awarding ceremony held Thursday afternoon at the US embassy in Manila.
Also in attendance were ranking US embassy officials led by Charge d'Affaires Paul Jones, US Army officers, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, General Generoso Senga.
Brigadier General Kenneth Dowd, director for logistics, engineering and security assistance of the US Pacific Command, presented the Soldier's Medal to the Batomalaque family.
Also present was US Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Casias, deputy operations officer of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah).

Casias was the American officer Batomalaque shielded when they came under heavy attack from armed gangs in Cite Soleil in the afternoon of April 14, 2005.
Batomalaque was assigned to provide security to Casias, who was supervising road projects in what was described as a violent neighborhood, a stronghold of armed gangs in the Haitian capital.
The citation contained a detailed account of Batomalaque's heroism, recalling how the Filipino soldier exposed himself twice to enemy fire coming from various directions to allow Casias to move to a covered position.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Filipino finds cure for skin cancer

By MEDIATRIX P. CRISTOBAL, PNA/The Manila Times

A Filipino scientist has made a major breakthrough in the treatment of skin cancer with his invention of a cream made of herbs.
A series of clinical tests showed that skin-cancer patients were cured in four months with a "100 percent nonrecurrence."
Rolando de la Cruz called his invention the DeBCC formula. It bested 1,500 other technologies at the International Inventor’s Forum in Nuremburg, Germany, on November 3.
De la Cruz and his family received the gold medal during the awarding ceremonies in Nuremberg.
De la Cruz, a multiawarded Filipino inventor, became famous when he developed earlier two other formulas called DeWart and DeMole, creams for the removal of warts and moles without surgery.
The DeBCC is a formulation developed from various Philippine herbs and cashew nut extracts.
The first clinical trial of DeBCC was conducted by surgeons from the University of the Philippines and the Philippine General Hospital led by Dr. Eric Talens.
Fourteen patients with chronic skin cancer were said to have been cured within 16 weeks with the application of the cream on the affected areas.
The trial involved no radical surgeries or procedures. No recurrences were noted after a follow-up of more than two years.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most-common type of skin cancer.
If left untreated, this disease can cause horrible disfigurement and contractures, as well as loss of eye and nose functions.
Usual treatments involving extirpative surgeries would usually result in unfavorable results because big lumps of normal tissues have to be removed.
Due to degradation of the ozone layer, people are more exposed to harmful UV rays.
The Filipino inventor had received awards and recognition from Russia, Japan, Korea and the United States since 1997 for his inventions that are available in the market worldwide.